‘The Professor‘ is a satirical poem by Nissim Ezekiel written in Dramatic Monologue. The retired professor Seth was once the professor of Geography who meets his student and the conversation between these two is the whole poem.
THE PROFESSOR BY NISSIM EZEKIEL POEM
Remember me? I am Professor Sheth.
Once I taught you geography.
Now I am retired, though my health is good.
My wife died some years back.
By God’s grace, all my children
Are well settled in life.
One is Sales Manager,One is Bank Manager,
Both have cars.Other also doing well, though not so well.
Every family must have black sheep.
Sarala and Tarala are married,
Their husbands are very nice boys.
You won’t believe but I have eleven grandchildren.
How many issues you have? Three?
That is good. These are days of family planning.
I am not against. We have to change with times.
Whole world is changing. In India also
We are keeping up. Our progress is progressing.
Old values are going, new values are coming.
Everything is happening with leaps and bounds.
I am going out rarely, now and then
Only, this is price of old age
But my health is O.K. Usual aches and pains.
No diabetes, no blood pressure, no heart attack.
This is because of sound habits in youth.
How is your health keeping? Nicely?
I am happy for that.
This year I am sixty-nine and hope to score a century.
You were so thin, like stick,
Now you are man of weight and consequence.
That is good joke.
If you are coming again this side by chance,
Visit please my humble residence also.
I am living just on opposite house’s backside.
THE PROFESSOR SUMMARY
The poem starts with a question “Remember me?“. The question is unusual as it is from a professor, not from the student. It seems there is no reply from the student. So, he introduces himself that he is professor Seth once taught him Geography.
The professor continues that his health is good, but his wife died a few years back. He is happy that all his children are well-settled by God’s grace. One is employed as a Sales Manager and the other is a Bank Manager and both own a car each. He calls the third son as ‘Black Sheep’ who is doing well but not so well as he expected. Seth goes on to describe his daughters.
Sarala and Tarala are his two daughters. Both are married to very nice boys. He happily shares with his student that he has eleven grandchildren. He inquires his student how many issues (children) he has. The student probably answers that he has three issues. Then he goes on to advise on family planning. The progress is in hand only when we are ready to adopt with inevitable new customs and values which the world brings in.
The professor describes his health. At sixty-nine, he is free from diabetes, blood pressure, heart attack and other ailments of vulnerable old age. All because of his sound habits in his youth. He asks his student about his health condition. He jokes at his student that he was so thin like a stick but now he has become a man of weight and consequence. He leaves requesting him to visit him when he has a chance to come again that side.